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African samurai: The enduring legacy of a black warrior in feudal Japan (cnn.com)
185 points by chirau 27 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 39 comments

Related and interesting: a full list of foreign-born samurai.


I got interested in the story of Yasuke (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasuke) when I was visiting Gifu, Oda's seat of power. The Wikipedia article has generally more information than the CNN article, but is perhaps a bit more sober. At 188cm he would indeed have been a giant among the locals at the time. There's a possibility that maybe, just maybe, the person to the left in this picture is Yasuke: https://www.museu-caramulo.net/upload/photo/38-arte-japonesa...

Holy shit I never knew Afro Samurai was based on a real story

That’s so cool haha

I think this is getting downvoted because it sounds racist but Afro Samurai is a real and fairly popular anime / manga which is indeed inspired by Yasuke. This is cool.

I don't think it is about racism... more so as it is just not a great comment.

I don't want to go too far down into the weeds on meta community stuff (it's endless man ...) but generally on HM 'super cool' and such comments are downvated, the idea being there isn't a lot of content there.

It's not 100% consistent, but I'm guessing that has more to do with it than any perceived racism. Anyone who read the article already saw that term used.... it's also not something most folks think of as racist IMO.

So I think the content here is "Afro Samurai is based on a real story." For anime fans that's useful and relevant.

Afro Samurai is inspired by Yasuke about as much as The Vampire Diaries is inspired by Vlad II Dracul.

True, but it's still neat.

Why would that sound racist? Honest question, as an immigrant I don't pick up 100% of all the things Americans perceive as racist.

Because "afro" was a hair style worn by primarily black people a few decades ago when racial tensions were higher.

It's an old term and as such is considered to be used by people who don't care enough to adopt more modern language to refer to people of the race and their culture.

In this case, it's the title of a real show and the protagonist is very respectfully portrayed in the anime. Recommended.



If we remove every racist from American history we won't have very many people to choose from. Andrew Jackson was not a great man, but his impact on the economic policy that shaped the country is undeniable, and is probably what earned him a place on the $20. Unfortunately history is full of terrible people who do great things, and great people who are less noteworthy.

This is such a weird argument to me. The vast, vast majority of historical figures do not show up on currency or monuments. That doesn't mean they've been "erased" from history, it just means we don't celebrate and memorialize them. Likewise, choosing to remove monuments or figures from currency does not in any way equate to removing them from the history books. You're still welcome to read all about Andrew Jackson, teach courses on him, whatever you'd like.

I think the argument to remove public mention of historical figures is weird. I think UVA students trying to get a statue of the founder of the university removed because he was a slave owner is weird. I don't really care one way or the other who's on my money, but the need to replace the historical figures we do portray with ones that are considered politically correct in "current year" seems weird to me.

Ah yes, freedom from slavery, the politically correct flavor of the moment.

Was it weird when Eastern Bloc nations removed Marxist relics from the Soviet era?

I'm from an eastern bloc nation, and there are plenty of Marxist relics to look at. If the US had statues of Jackson in every square and photos of "insert racist slave owner terrible person here" in every building, I would think it was weird too.

Who said anything about removing him from history? This is the disinginious argument the right makes. Equating removing thestatues and monuments of less than ideal figures with complete erasure from historical records. In reality there has been real people erased from the records and they always turn out to be people of color and women.

I think societal norms regarding virtues and vices also change over time. If nothing else, what's considered a minor vice in one century might be considered an unforgivable character flaw in another century.

Given that, I'm a little skeptical of claims that a historically significant figure should have never appeared on money, in a statue, etc.

Well actually Lincoln is on the $5 bill and he might have been the most important figure in american history in terms of the ending of slavery, so there's that.

If you mean the $20 bill where Andrew Jackson is figured I'd postulate that most non-racist/non race baiting people don't give a flying fuck who's on their currency so long as it works - and that's because they're simply going about their lives and not thinking about how they can inject race into every single topic ever - which is an inherently non-racist way of going about your life.

Andrew Jackson is on the $20 bill.

Andrew Jackson

People back then were horrified when he got into the oval office. Nothing new under the sun, really.

$20. Also, not sure if you're aware, but the Trump admin just decided to keep the genocidal white guy instead of the heroic black woman...



Ironically, knowing about "Afro Samurai" in this case, would seem to indicate the poster is more culturally astute than someone who would down vote them as it indicates a willingness to consume content about both Japanese and black culture.

Sounds more like Japanese meets blacksploitation; a very narrow Netflix category.

I learned about Yasuke from playing "Sekiro." There's a black samurai/ronin that you can interact with. I thought nothing of it, but others postulated that it might be a reference to Yasuke. I was fascinated to learn about his journey.

Nioh has an even more obvious reference with the "Obsidian Samurai":


PS: the player character in Nioh is also a "Foreign Samurai", William Adams: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Adams_(sailor,_born_15...

Good point! I forgot about those ones. Also a really fun game.

Jinzaemon is not black (that's who you meant right?):


From the wiki though: > (Japanese Default Language version) He has a Westernized Japanese accent, it may be a tribute to Yasuke (African Samurai) in 1579.

Erm, ok, that's a weird reach the wiki is making. You can see closeups of his face right beneath that sentence.

Yes that's who I'm referring to. On my first playthrough I didn't think he was black, but after having it pointed out I think it's likely he's a reference to Yasuke. Either way, this is how I learned about it.

Movie? Yes please.

I heard about this recently in the Kings and Generals YouTube channel:


It’s a fairly interesting story, but does seem there is limited information.

I hear Forest Whitaker may option a prequel. GD needs a reincarnation movie.


Seriously who creates a HN account just to make a racist joke

Please just flag and move on, as the site guidelines ask. If you reply, you not only troll-feed, but leave off-topic subthreads dangling after we ban the accounts.

In egregious cases, you're welcome to email hn@ycombinator.com too, which guarantees we'll see it.


isn't it obvious? a racist

Django meet Kill Bill. Can't wait a good movie on that story.

SMH. There's already Ghost Dog.

The real last Samurai lol

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